Friday, December 31, 2010


It's only a couple hours until the end of 2010, and with utter most excitement and glee, I want this year to wrap up already and start a fresh batch of 365 days. I have come a long way into accomplishing the goals I never planned in the first place. The first half of the year was quite something I haven't felt in years, a Central American backpacking trip in the middle, followed by the remaining year to slack tremendously; I was disappointed. But I've come a long way from the first day of 2010 to this moment right now.

For 2011, I'm gearing up to pursue more art projects, finish some classes for my undergraduate career, a job and possibly an internship, and lastly, traveling. Yeah, I may not be financially stable right now but the money that I plan to travel with will come very soon enough. For my resolutions for 2011: don't plan anything because life is so unpredictable.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bêtes de Mode

An array of simple shots of female and male models posed among a black background, morphing with the image of an animal that somehow matche the characteristics of their style. Check more of their work here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rene Almanza

The severity of the sharp lines, in contrast with a similarity with Egon Schiele, Rene Almanza proves he can make a name of himself. He has minimal and clean lines that creates a simple and intelligent work.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Listening to Spanish pop singers, particularly from Spain always melt my heart. But in general, I think all artists who sing in French, Italian, Spanish, and German are some of my favorites. My friend introduced me to this video/film that is strikingly original, eclectic, and all around humorous, giving the song a lot of justice. El Guincho consist of solo artist Pablo Díaz-Reix, a native of Spain, whose focus is creating a mixture of afrobeat, dub, and rock, a fusion that is quite enigmatic.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Black Swan

Okay, I have been anticipating for Black Swan since May, and not one moment in the film did I ever ask I've waited this long for this? No, I was completely floored. Reading an excerpt interview with Darren Aronofsky talking about future projects including Black Swan, the question that I kept repeating was "How will Aronofsky fuse a film about ballet, suspense, and an erotic scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis together?" Almost like a paradox. You could imagine the excitement I had about this film. I've been intrigued about his place as a filmmaker ever since I saw The Wrestler two years ago. It progressed to a point where I needed to watch all of his films as a marathon, even the gritty Requiem For A Dream. To my surmise, he matured in Black Swan with elemental style and fragmentary pieces of Hitchcock, De Palma, and Polanski. I have no doubt that Black Swan will send other critics scrambling for thesaurus, not to find synonyms for courage, but to find variations on melodramatic, over-the-top, or "about as subtle as a grand piano pushed off a skyscraper."

Nina Sayers, played by the lovely Natalie Portman, an ambitious, dedicated ballerina living in New York City in a claustrophobic apartment with her overbearing stage mother, Barbara Hershey in an outstanding role. As Nina struggles to grow into her prime, cue all the pink interior in her bedroom, Swan Lake director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) appoints Nina with the staring role of the White Swan, taking over the role of the 'aging' Beth (Ryder in a small, yet engrossing role.) As productions begins, she proves herself that she is the epitome of the White Swan, however, Thomas begins to question her dual role as the Black Swan, played with eroticism and sensuality. This role may prove a challenge to her as newcomer rival, Lily (Kunis) swooping in to prove otherwise. Her efforts to find that erotic Black Swan in herself combined with the brutal physical toll of a professional dancer and not to mention, her mother's pressure starts to overwhelm her. Nina becomes unhinged, free-falling into her descent.

Aronofsky once again dwells on his themes of mental pain manifesting itself in physical punishment suggesting The Red Shoes by way of Requiem for a Dream, and for the first half the violence a dancer inflicts on her own body is all the horror we need. What embodies the film to turn into a well crafted old horror film, and by horror films, I'm refering to Polanski's Repulsion, the ability of the actors to reach to the dark depths of their talent. I may have doubted Mila's acting degree despite her resume sprucing full of comedy, but her take as the inhibited rival dancer proves she is a chameleon with her unnervingly wit and charm. Throughout the film, she plays along the ledge of whether she is taunting Sayers or this is all working itself out in Nina's mind. By the two thirds mark the accumulated details of Nina's terror have dragged us into a nightmare reality where we, along with her, find our bearings lost and the ground vanishing beneath our feet.

The dashing Frenchman, Vincent Cassel weaves us into the menacing characters, full of layers. He's full of vision, and knowing that Nina's inexperience with her sexuality, coaxes her into playing her character rather than coaxing her into bed instead. The standout in the supporting cast is Barbara Hershey as Nina's mother. She has long been one of our most reliable actresses but it feels like it's been ages since she's had an opportunity like this to prove just how formidable her talent is. She is electric, playing a smothering stage mother with a smile full of warmth. The mother/daughter relationship here has echoes of Carrie in the way she represses Nina and undermines her in everything she does. Listen closely to the way she wishes her luck, using just the right tone to let her daughter know that she expects failure.

Aronofsky is able to pull punches from the actors to morph them into the gritty and raw characters that comes from the twisted mind of his. The use of digital video is as lush and hallucinatory as anything he’s accomplished on film. Black Swan has a documentary quality, back-of-the-head shot seen especially in The Wrestler, a cinematic style of Aronofsky, signaling that we should give a feel what these characters are made of. The angst and challenges they endure bars nothing to what we expect. Black Swan goes as a companion piece to The Wrestler as a study of self destruction.

But as great as the supporting cast is this is Portman's show and she delivers a career-elevating triumph. Her character knotted in tension at all times, her every smile a mask of pain, Portman gives a performance that isn't just good, but is the kind of performance that is rare even among very good actresses - the kind where you have trouble coming up with the name of another actor capable of delivering anything close to it. She will get the obligatory comparisons to DeNiro's work in Raging Bull due to the astonishing physical transformation she undergoes. Not to diminish that transformation - it is breath-taking, there are long, unbroken shots where Portman is entirely convincing as a prima ballerina - but lots of actors have undergone similar technical changes to lesser dividends. What is truly impressive is that Portman doesn't just convince as a dancer, it's the way she convincingly dances in character. Throughout the movie we can chart Nina's mental state by observing her dancing. The opportunity to honor work of this caliber nearly justifies all the awards hoopla.

By all means, see this film. It is an amazing achievement, and to bluntly put it, Aronofsky deserves all the awards melted into one big statue. But really Natalie's ability to transform herself into a prima ballerina is an Oscar contender, hands down.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Somehow I manage to turn Thursday into an awkward day. The same usual things everyday: waiting for semester to end, filling out applications and sending resumes every way possible, and wondering how I'll find some financial stability to keep my travels alive.

I released some of the inner nomad, wanderer inside me. Completely freeing feeling, especially heightened with Laura Veirs and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart accompanied by writing.


Design Boom brightened my day as I continued to mope and sulk around. The flashy color grabbed my attention, elevating my mood to high level of interest. There was the occasional thought what is the purpose of this, but if it serves to brighten other people's day, an interesting and fascinating exhibition I must say.Imagine having film strip, cut, tied, and dyed in a burning fuchsia and other various shades of red, wrapping along the walls in your house. It could certainly spruce up my house, among the monochromatic furniture that offer no hope.

The former imperial abbey of Aachen-Kornelimünster is the newest site for German artist Martin Pfeifle to hold this exhibition. "The installation consists of a series of long tinted film strips in six different shades of red. the strips are tied together to create a supper long band that stretches throughout one entire floor of the abbey. the band runs through doorways circling the center of the floor, while still allowing visitors to move around it."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Things Instead

There are just so many times I thought about things I could be learning in life that will benefit me instead of reading topics about countless of subjects that may not benefit my soul. Unfortunately, I fell prey to the population of the college kids, worshiping the computer screen and Facebook on a daily basis. Do I like this? No, but it could certainly pay off, maybe not in this economy but in the next life.

I could be hearing anecdotes, experiences, paradoxes, etc. from the eclectic people who never shower, living from a backpack, enjoying that occasional acid, about how to steer the course through life with more ease. There is that 'fear' that I don't want to live like that. But what is it that really bugging me? I'm unemployed by choice, studying for school because it's an easy net to fall on. On rare occasions, I constantly worry that my 'life-at-the-moment' is permanent, and it'll never change. It is important to remember that days and weeks and months do not really exist. These things are illusionary; they are instruments of social mathematicians and scientists.

Instead of learning about the structure of genes and DNA molecules and the fundamental history of the Pantheon, with several essays stacking up, I'm learning the lyrics of 'What's Up' and dancing inside my head and writing what is important to remember in life. I doubt these library goers would appreciate the gesture if I broke out in a dance mode.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beautiful Youth

I haven't heard of Ryan McGinley until I came across his campaign ads with Italian fashion house, Missoni a couple months ago, although I remember seeing the ads in Vogue last fall and winter season. I remember thinking Whoever the photographer is, they know what the Missoni customer wants, but it could be different. McGinley creates a very free, playful style aesthetic in his commercial and artistic photography, often being provocative, yet still in the artistic context. McGinely is known for placing a less-than-subtle of free spirit rebel youths in a minimal style setting. The style of the photographs fits my vision if I were ever to express myself with photography, being that nudity makes it more bolder. Not necessarily being sexual.

McGinely had successful start into photography. He was the one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, including being awarded Young Photographer Infinity Award.

'Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere' series

'Moonmilk' series

In collaboration with Missoni for the F/W '09 campaigns, McGinley still maintains his cool and free aesthetic in the minimal style shots. Missoni's color striped wool shirts, cardigans, and coats signature blends well with the artistic vision of McGinely.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Perhaps because I'm starting to turn in a different place in my life, at the moment, it may be spreading into my work. Beginning with a new medium incorporating into new artwork, I went ahead to run in a different direction - with watercolors. Usually shying away from watercolors and opting more thicker material such as oil, I wanted to examine the fluidity of watercolors and the effect of my usual charcoal figures. Working in a burnt umber shade and small use of light lemon, I fused the graphite drawing with enough water and a small dose of the colors.

It wasn't exactly the way I intended for it to work, but it definitely pleased the cloudy effect of charcoal and water. The loud hint of umber in both drawings hardened the delicate figures.

Untitled, December 2010, 6" 12", graphite and watercolor.

Untitled, December 2010, 6" x 12", charcoal and watercolor.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Delicate Destruction

What happens when you combine heavy weaponry, delicate ceramics and force? Evidently a blunder of shattered porcelain. In Laurent Craste case, it's quite the opposite. Craste, a Montreal based artist, simply creates this contemporary sculpture series with precision and tenuity. Using an open oven, Craste maintains the position to the sector on the ceramics before being heated in an open oven, creating a 'melting' shape that becomes permanently embedded in the urns, vases, and other ceramics.

But what can we understand about the philosophy behind this unusual, yet strikingly beautiful work? I'm stumped at the idea behind this series, and I want to hear other people's idea behind this eclectic sculpture series. Leave your thoughts and tell me what you think.

You can catch more of his work here.


In life I think that it’s important for people to have ideas. I think that the natural progression of humanity - particularly in the case of transitioning into adulthood - is to mold ideas into tangible product. Like molding clay, we press, sculpt, and carve, adding in the distinguishing marks of achievement over time.

The question I ask myself in regards to this has always been thus: “Am I sculpting the right ideas, in the right way? Will my work yield the right results?”

I’m now beginning to ask myself why I form ideas and notions at all? Is it because I desire some beautifully metrical end result? Or is it because I find beauty in the act of sculpting altogether, and not necessarily in the end result or how it is perceived?

Someday I’d like to build a beautiful house in the woods, with my hands, from the ground up. I will invite my family & friends to witness what I’ve done, likely as an excuse to gather their company. Do I want to create something powerful and sheltering from the ground up? Yes, I do.

More so, I want to be laughing in the woods with good people.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

But It's A Good Start

Every season, the French label, Maison Martin Martin, creates a seasonal charity project that involves a frank discussion about AIDS and the growing fear of this disease within our community. This seasonal project is unusual, but straight to the point. The House created a t-shirt 15 years ago, designed by Lutz Huelle, that is printed on a simple v-neck, in a different color each season, often corresponding to the color each season. But what is very unconventional about it is the emblazoned statement on it.


However when unfolded and worn, the tee shirt’s message is dissected into several parts – some worn inside the neck of the tee, some on the outside of the neck, and the rest at the back along the bottom hem. As such, the parts that are visible can provoke conversation to explain the text, spreading the message of AIDS awareness throughout communities. All 100% of the proceeds go directly to French Charity, AIDES

I got my grey/white t-shirt on, and I'm ready to go to a benefit fund later this evening to help find a cure for this deadly disease.

Get your black version from Aloha Rag.